Photo by Heidi Randhava

Outstanding African American educators were honored on Feb. 10 at the 10:30a.m.worship service at Second Baptist Church, 1717 Benson Ave.

A committee chaired by Dr. Felisha Parsons accepted nominations from students, teachers, community members, parents and administrators for the church’s third annual education recognition day. In her remarks, Dr. Parsons stressed the importance of placing emphasis on education for a fulfilling life, and the role of the church as an “education hub.”

“Education is the new currency today. We need to provide strong collaborative systems for our children to grow,” said Dr. Parsons. She recited an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go by yourself, but if you want to go far, go together.”

The 2019 award recipients were: Alana Amaker, Counselor, ETHS; Jenna Arceneaux, third grade teacher, Walker School; Mario Banks, Custodian, Walker School; Evelyn Chatman, Special Education Support, ETHS; Tricia Murray, Principal, Kingsley School; Heather Ransom, fifth grade teacher, Dr. Martin Luther King Arts; Toly Walker, English teacher, ETHS; Marva Wright, Secretary, Rice Education Center.

Special recognition was also given to the Oakton School teachers in the African Centered Curriculum Program, and to Evelyn Wimberly (posthumous), support staff, Dr. Martin Luther King Arts.

Twenty-three retired African American educators were also honored for their collective 700 (yes, 700) years of service. Second Baptist Deacon and committee member Helen Fulce recited the names of the following retired educators: Lun Ye Crim Barefield (30+ years) Counselor, ETHS; Bernie Bates (32 years) Librarian, CPS; Omega Clark (20 years) Paraprofessional, Dist. 65; Ellen Collins (200 years) Paraprofessional, Dist. 65; Yvonne Davis (40 years) Educator/Reading Specialist, Dist. 65; Sara Diggs (30 years) Educator, CPS; Helen Fulce (34 years) Educator, Dist. 65; Barbara Harvell (35 years) Educator, Milwaukee Public Schools; Catherine Johnson (30 years) Educator, Dist. 65; Harriett Johnson (28 years) Educator, Dist. 65; Sharon Leggett (35 years) Educator, Dist. 65; Pamela Sims-Little (38 years) Educator, Chicago Catholic & CPS; Denise Martin (33 years) educator/Administration, ETHS; Lillie Parsons (17 years) Paraprofessional, Dist. 65; Margaret Ransom (35 years) Educator, Zion Dist. 6; Suzie Rice (31 years) Educator, Glenview Dist. 34; Annell Sampson (26 years) Educator, Dist. 65; Roz Sanders (25 years) Educator, Dist. 65; Justine Scott (40 years) Educator/ Counselor, VA, GA, IL Public Schools; Rosyln Scott (35 years) Educator, CPS; Edie Ruth Tillis (38 years) Educator, CPS; Arneta Young (30 years) Educator, CPS; Marilynn Wharton (30 years) Educator, CPS/ETHS.

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.